towards recovery, even as the valley fire continues roaring just one hill away, barely contained. you can go also to the al jazeera website, aljazeera.com. ♪ two major wildfires burn out of control in california, sending tens of thousands of residents running for their lives. and many won't have home toss return to. heavy rain sends a wall of water rushing through a utah community, leaving eight people dead. authorities say all of the victims are mothers and children. and syrian refugees beg for sup place and a way into europe. while families in the u.s. struggle to bring their loved ones to safety. ♪
this is al jazeera america. live from new york city. i'm stephanie sy. as the sunrises on the west coast this morning, people are getting a first look at the damage. california's raging wildfires caused overnight. 23,000 people slept in emergency shelters last night. more than 700 homes are destroyed. three major sfiers are tearing through residential areas to the north and east of san francisco, at a pace firefighters say they have never seen before. melissa chan is live in middletown, california right now. a town the valley fire turned through over the weekend, and we can see what that looks like behind you, melissa. >> reporter: absolutely. this is just one of the many homes destroyed by the fire that went through middletown, as i would say that our team feels that about a third to half of the homes in middletown have
been destroyed and look just like this. all of this rubble. all that really remains, large metal frames, stoves, ovens are remainders of that. we decided to go to one of the evacuation centers and get a sense of how residents are responding to this natural disaster. breakfast served at one of the areas evacuation centers. firefighters have not allowed most residents back into town. many people here have no idea whether their home survived the fire or not. so they are waiting. but not donald wood who saw his business go down in flames. >> i had ten bucks in my wallet, put it in the tank when i got down here. that's the last money i had. other than that, my shop went down in like five minutes. >> reporter: our team tracked down what remained of wood's business, an auto body shop during our visit later that day
through middletown. absolutely nothing sal vain jable in this rubble. >> it's time for a new beginning, clean start. just rebuild life. >> reporter: residents have shown incredible resilience. >> they say the good lord won't give us anything we can't handle, but some days i wonder. [ laughter ] >> but, you know, you have your family and that's all really that is truly important. >> reporter: sterling fair also knows he lost his home, because it made front page news. >> opened up the paper and we find our home in the paper. and i know i can identify things in it. and it looks like it is gone, but, you know, you have choices in life. we'll move on. >> his rv is now the only home he and his wife have. >> yeah, i'm laughing, still, crying -- i cry, laugh, yeah, definitely i'm shocked. >> reporter: this used to be an apartment complex, and you can
tell because every few feet there is an air conditioning unit and hot water heater. witnesses say in parts of middletown, the fire swept through in just 20 minutes. >> in this particular case, it was simply moving so fast that i think there was very little anticipation of how fast it would hit these residential areas, and there wasn't enough time to get the orders out and get the sheriffs involved. >> this year firefighters have responded to over 7,000 wildfires that have destroyed more than 650,000 acres. they tell us that is nearly 1,600 times what is normal. middletown, has become the summer's most ravaged symbol of the fire season. on main street the first business to reopen, was this third generation general store.
ross has had little sleep keeping the store open for residenting. it's not only people who need help. no one is here. there is no one to feed the animals. >> so we want to make sure that they are all right. >> reporter: everyone it seems has come together, a battered town already working towards recovery, even as the valley fire continues roaring just one hill aware, barely continued. as stephanie just to add a little bit more to that evacuation situation, officials are allowing some exceptions now. residents of course really want to get back into middletown. they are giving exceptions to people who have livestock. or people who left their prescription medications behind, because they left in such a hurry on saturday evening. >> the fire is clearly not
keeping those folks in middletown down. thanks, melissa. earlier i spoke to the director of the california department of forestry and fire protection and asked him his strategy. >> these fires are spotting way ahead of the fire. residents are barely having time to get out. so obviously we are absolutely encourage everybody to heed evacuation orders quickly and move out of the way so we can get resources in and fight these fires. when a fire grows 10,000 acres in just an hour, as this fire did, there is very little time for notice, which is why we have been so clear all year, the last two years, letting people know, plan ahead, be prepared for when it is time to evacuate, go and go quickly. we heard the governor say yesterday we have to be thinking about this into the future. four years of drought, parched vegetation, but we're seeing
temperatures increase, these are all conditions that are changing, and we have got to be responsive to it, in preparing firefighters and treating vegetation, in land use planning. >> he said he expects the number of evacuations to keep growing. over the next several days since the fires are nowhere near contained. the search is getting underway for the five people still missing after flash floods in southern utah. john henry here now with more. john? >> reporter: stephanie, much of the heavy rain fell on the mountain region on the outskirts of hilldale. there were women and children in this silver car when the water started to rise. rescuers were able to get each
one of them to safety. but people in two other vehicles swept away in the town of hilldale would not be so lucky. police say heavy rains caused the flash flooding that carried away a van and suv full of women and children several hundred yards downstreams. rescuered called off the search for survivors on monday as the conditions became too dangerous. a significant segment of the 7700 town residences may not have gotten the warning. hilldale is the home base of the warren jeffs polygamy sect. he is in prison, and most are discouraged from having contact with the outside world. the national weather service says it expects scattered rain and thunder thunderstorms to continue today. several blocks of homes are
without power and running water this morning. >> john henry smith thank you for that update. germany and austria calling for a special summit to deal the refugee crisis. angela merkel says the progress can only be resolved if europe works together. hungary today detained hundreds of more refugees today. a state of emergency now in effect in two counties. that means the army can help patrol the razor wire fences now on the border there. many syrian americans say they are frustrated over the lack of u.s. involvement on military and humanitarian fronts. adam may get a group of syrian americans in ohio who feel
forgotten. >> reporter: this man is giving up on the u.s. government. we first met this syrian american in 2013, trying to find solace in his ohio garden between frustrating calls to the u.s. state department. this is a hill and water. i'm an american citizen, originally from syria. i would like to get my brothers and his family from syria to here. >> reporter: for weeks he made the same play, trying to rescue his family. >> i really need your help, so please give me a call back, thank you very much. >> reporter: now two years later, after failing to get any help from the federal government, his sister is among the dead refugees. she perished trying to escape syria with her two children,
like thousands of others she made a smuggler to help them across the sea, hoping to reach sweden. >> once they got to the first island, my -- my sister was getting really sick and -- and once they hit the land and they called an ambulance or something, on the way to the hospital, she passed away. >> reporter: she died. why was it so important for our sister to get her kids to europe? >> reporter: because there is no -- no place for them. they cannot work. they cannot go to school. she was a -- a -- to give anything she can to get them to the safety. >> reporter: he isn't alone. his group of syrian american friends in columbus ohio meet often to discuss the conflict, the lack of american intervention, and fears for
their family members still living in the war zone. do you think you will ever go back to syria? >> once we -- we -- we got that -- that dictator out, yes. >> reporter: you want to go back? >> i will go back. to help. >> reporter: hoping more of his family doesn't die waiting. adam may, al jazeera, columbus, ohio. you can watch adam's full report on "america tonight" at 10:00 pm eastern. the united nations is asking for more funding to deal with the refugee crisis. the world food program says it has only received 40% of the funding this year. that means a third of the countries surrounding syria are surviving on $0.50 aday. another 60,000 in jordan and
lebanon have received no food assistance since august. the kremlin is calling on the obama administration to work with it tend to the crisis in syria, but the u.s. is accusing the russian government of making the situation worse. vladimir putin insists they are just fighting isil. >> reporter: tunited states say russia is building an air base in syria. it can see the russian tank, missiles and artillery being put in place to protect the base. not to mention the almost non-stop flow of cargo planes flying into syria.
russian news agencies have quoted foreign minister sergei love saying that it is includes not just equipment, but also troops to train the syrians of how to use the equipment. >> we have no reason to doubt the veracity of what he is saying in terms of them continuing to provide military support. so that i think we're taking on face value their claims about what they are doing. the ultimate intent and goal, i think still is a little uncertain. >> reporter: on capitol hill, john mccain said that russian president putin is capitalizing on u.s. inaction. he issued a statement that says quote:
but the u.s. seems content with a policy of watchful waiting, and in his talk with u.s. troops last week, president obama said russia's putin is playing a dangerous game. >> the russians are going to have to start getting a little smarter than they have been, because they are threatened in many ways more than we are by isil. they have large muslim populations that historically have caused a lot of problems inside of russia, and the strategy that they are pursuing right now doubling down on assad, i think is a mistake. >> reporter: so far only a half dozen or so russian is tanks and some anti-aircraft missiles. the united states has warned moscow, by propping up the regime of bashar al-assad, it risks making even more unstable an already unstable situation.
but moscow says it's not doing anything new, simply supporting its long-time ally in the region. jamie mcintyre reporting from the pentagon. senate republicans say they will try again today to advance a resolution rejecting the iran nuclear deal, but democrats are confident they have enough votes to prevent the measure from reaching president obama's desk. mitch mcconnell has scheduled another vote this evening which could end debate on the proposed resolution. walking 100 miles for a cause, why these women are hitting the streets with a message for pope francis. ♪
>> there's a line of police advancing toward the crowd here. >> ferguson: city under siege. >> it isn't easy to talk openly on this base. >> and america's war workers. >> it's human trafficking. >> watch these and other episodes online now at aljazeera.com/faultlines. welcome back to al jazeera america. it is 10:49 eastern. some three dozen fraternity members are facing charges today including murder in the death of a new york college freshman. he died nearly three years ago during a hazing ritual in pennsylvania. investigators say his brothers at the fraternity failed to take him to the hospital after he suffered a head injury. no school in seattle again this morning, as the teacher's strike stretches into a second week. the teachers and the district are at odds over pay and
funding. the city council passed a resolution last night backing the union and calling on both sides to reach a deal. and twitter has launched a system allowing residents to donate to politicians through a tweet. it's the latest of several twitter products built around the presidential campaigns. 100 women are now on a walk they say will take them to washington, d.c. just as the pope arrives. they set off from a detention center in pennsylvania they will weave their way through maryland and end at the white house. they want to get the pope's attention on detention reform. the women just kicked off the march. who are they, and what is their message? >> reporter: these women are morts, wives, they have always been touched by this immigration debate there many came to the country illegally years ago,
some of them are still undocumented and some of them have loved one inside this detention center. it is 100 women marching 100 miles all the way to washington, d.c. it is a pilgrimage of sorts because it is time to coincide with the pope's visit to the united states next week. among the women marching is a mother of two. she was brought here illegally as a child when she was seven years old. her husband is undocumented, here illegally as well, he has been picked up by immigration, was held in this detention center for a very long five months for her and her family. he was released but his case is still open and she still worries that he could be deported. so she is marching for him. >> if my husband gets deported,
we're talking about a whole lot of changes -- we're talking about going to a country that i don't even know myself because my mother brought me when i was seven years old. and my kids are going to have to adopt to a whole new culture. >> reporter: but even today you are worried about your family. >> yes. >> reporter: and so one of the many voices marching today. her personal story about her husband being detained for five months still possibly facing deportation because he is here illegally. as well as the impact that will have on her and her kids. they have a home here and a small business as well. they are marching to washington, d.c. hoping to get that story and many, many others to pope francis when he arrives. they hope with him they will find a sympathetic ear and a much bigger voice. >> the pope obviously has a
really packed schedule during this visit. how likely is it that he will talk about the issue of immigration. >> reporter: immigration is likely going to be a big topic of conversation for the popes. gays and lesbians have petitioned to spending some time with him as well, which is also a possibility. but immigration is without question a cause that is fully embraced by the pontiff. he has spoken out about immigration rights across the world. and when he addresses the congress, immigration is certainly going to be one of the big topics of conversation there. >> john -- jonathan thank you. combatting climate change. the u.s. and china will discuss
police this morning are still trying to find a motive in a campus shooting in mississippi. the suspect killed himself late last night as police closed in inspect he is accused of fatally shooting a colleague on campus, he is also suspected of killing his girlfriend. >> the crisis is over. this campus is safe again, and our lockdown has been dismissed. we have lost a wonderful colleague in dr. ethan schmidt. who will be the subject of a candlelight vigil. >> reporter: that vigil will be
held on campus tonight. u.s. and chinese officials will unveil a joint plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. and the climate leader's suck mitt is focused on local solutions. our correspondent reports. >> reporter: from wildfires whipping across the state to bone dry riverbeds. california has seen the extreme effects of global warming this summer. this los angeles, long considered the smog capitol of the u.s. matt peterson says there is renewed urgency to combat climate change. >> we need to be the leaders here in l.a., here in california of how we're going to fight climate change. >> reporter: peterson is the city's first sustainability officer, part of l.a.'s aggressive push to slash emissions by 80% over the next 35 years.
>> if you think about the global challenge of climate change we really have to set ambitious targets. >> reporter: the mayor will help lead the discussion at any first u.s. china climate summit. local leaders from both countries will gather here to spell out their city's plans to reduce green house gas emissions. the u.s. has vowed to slash its own emissions by nearly 30% in the next decade, while china has agreed to reach its emissions peak by 2030. peterson says this summit will be the first step in making good on president obama and chinese president's promise. why is it so important for city leaders to be involved in this process? this >> we know cities are responsible for up to 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world. cities are where solutions to
climate change are happening. we'll see from this summit that mayors and cities are setting targets ahead of their national go. l.a. has done that by reducing water usage by roughly a quarter. last week the major announced a plan to lease 250 electric and hybrid cars, the largest city-owned fleet in the country. all efforts peterson hopes will inspire chinese cities to step up their commitments to climate change. esig ret -- ic cigarettes are now restricted in national parks. the director says the move is out of an abundance of caution for the health of employees and visitors. thanks for watching, i'm stephanie sy. the news continues next live from doha. have a great morning. ♪
>> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello and welcome to the al jazeera news hour. i'm martine dennis in doha. germany and austria call for a special summit on the refugee c crisis. >> i think the situation is extremely dangerous. >> condemnation from the palestinian ambassador to the u.n. after israeli security forces storm a mosque for